Johannesburg - South Africans rejoiced when news that Loyiso Madinga would be added to The Daily Show line-up as an African correspondent broke this week.
The inserts he and his team will do for the US’s late-night comedy news show hosted by Trevor Noah will be tailored for African audiences, and, depending on the magnitude of the story, will be included in the US packaging of the show.
At media company Viacom SA’s offices in Sandton this week, Madinga was relaxed, laughing and fooling about with staff.
When asked how it felt to have been chosen for the gig, he said it still didn’t seem real. He explained how he wasn’t incredibly excited when he received the call saying he’d landed the job, because part of him didn’t fully register what was happening.
“It has been a long time since that was told to me. I knew I got it last year in June, but there was a period of radio silence where I wasn’t certain.”
Madinga said he had been lucky to have had an amazing support system throughout his career in comedy.
“My family and comedy friends have been very supportive. My siblings, too. I mean, my parents are just happy that I’m still sending money home. When they heard me on their radio station, Umhlobo Wenene FM, that’s when they were so proud of me, like, oh snap their boy is doing something!”
It has been a long journey for the young comedian, who first came to Johannesburg in pursuit of a career in advertising.
“I remember being young and trying to figure out jokes. I used to think people who do this are geniuses. It seemed like magic. It still does. I have used humour to navigate social moments. Humour is like a social crutch, I guess. Later on, I realised maybe there’s a path for a future in this.”
The eyes of the world will be on Madinga, and he says he suspects he knows why he was chosen for this role.
“There are many people on the continent who could have done this job. I could rattle off a long list. I guess they just picked the personality that fits in a certain way for them. I’m just glad to have been chosen, not just for myself, but it is another platform for the industry.”
He seemed concerned about leaving some kind of legacy or foundation for upcoming talent and praised comedians such as John Vlismas, David Kau and Kagiso Lediga.
“I perform almost every night. When those guys started, there was just one place where they could get stage time. They built this for us,” he said.
“The Daily Show won’t be my job forever. One day, I will have to be replaced and, hopefully by then, I have created something great for them to build on. I just want to bring as much of me as possible. But it isn’t just me. I’m just the icing on the cake of a brilliant team of writers.”
Madinga has some words of advice for aspiring comedians: “There isn’t a formula that makes a person good. You make the decision to put yourself out there and the rest will follow.”
What kind of subjects would you like to see Madinga focus on during his stint on The Daily Show?
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